13 Powerful Rules Colin Powell Lived By That Everybody Needs To Read

These simple but amazing rules are a blueprint for life.

October (she/her)
3 min readFeb 16, 2022


Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

The great Colin Powell died in October 2021, leaving behind a legacy of leadership and perseverance. When I first heard the news I took a moment to reflect back on what a great man he was.

About Colin Powell — the high-level, not-worthy-of-him version

Those of us who lived in the U.S. through the 80s and 90s remember him well. Although one of his labels is “first Black U.S. Secretary of State” (serving under George W. Bush), he was so much more.

He served in the highest-ranking military position in the U.S. Department of Defense in the 80s and early 90s. He oversaw many, many crises. He was known for his diplomacy.

He was so well respected that he received electoral votes for the 2016 Presidency, although he wasn’t a formal candidate. What this man saw and knew we’ll never fully know, but he lived a life well served. And he dedicated himself to honor and principle.

How the 13 rules came about

Colin Powell used to collect quotes and aphorisms over the years. He’d shove them into his desk and reflect back on them.

The 13 rules he infamously lived by appear in his second and final memoir It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership. He said he found them as a sidebar in Parade magazine many years ago.

Take a look — they are a blueprint for living life. From someone who’s now middle-aged, I can’t help but agree that these rules make a lot of sense. I wish I had them for guidance when I was younger.

Colin Powell’s 13 rules to live life by

  1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
  2. Get mad, then get over it.
  3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
  4. It can be done.
  5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
  6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.



October (she/her)

🌷 CEO 💍 Wife 🎓 MBA 💾 Gen X 🌈 LBGTQIA+ friendly 😱 Horror author ❤️ I left a successful career to pursue writing. FOLLOW ME to see how it’s going!